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9 Costly Misconceptions About Injury Cases

MISCONCEPTION #1:  I can settle my case without hiringa lawyer.   True. If you’re satisfied with the insurance company merely repairing your carand paying a portion of your medical bills, then you’re right.  You may not need to hire a lawyer.   Still, it’s important that you understand what you’re entitled to.  In most cases, you are entitled not only torecover your medical bills and repairs to your property, such as a car, butalso to any additional damages you suffer, such as physical pain andsuffering.  That’s why I urge you to atleast talk with a lawyer over the tele­phone before you accept an insurancecompany’s offer.   Yourlawyer takes the hassle out of dealing with the insurance company.  In my office, I provide all these servicesfor my clients, usually at no charge.  Inother words, I usually don’t take a penny of the money I collect for damages toyour property or car.  My fee is limitedto a portion of what I recover for your physical and psychological injuries anddamages – nothing more.

MISCONCEPTION #2:  If I decide to hire a lawyer, onelawyer is just as good as another.   False. Today,lawyers are just as specialized as doctors. You could have an eye doctor, a foot doctor, and a doctor for everythingin between.  The same is true forlawyers.  If you have an injury claim,you wouldn’t hire a tax lawyer or a criminal defense lawyer.  Instead, you would hire a skilled personalinjury lawyer.  I recommend that you hirea highly knowledgeable, experienced injury lawyer so the insurance company won’ttake advantage of you – and so you collect the amount of money damages that youdeserve.

MISCONCEPTION #3:  An attorney requires a down paymentto accept my injury claim.   False. In my office, all injury cases are handled on a contingency fee.  This means I get paid out of the money Irecover for you.  If you collect nothing, I get paid nothing.  To start, you cantalk with me for free.  And if you hiremy services, you pay no fee until your case settles and I recover money foryou.  I will be happy to talk with youabout this at our initial meeting.

MISCONCEPTION #4:  I’ll get more money if I handle the casemyself because I won’t have to pay a lawyer.   False. Innearly all cases, a skilled personal injury lawyer will get you far more moneythan you could have gotten for yourself. In fact, your lawyer will likely get enough additional money tocompletely cover his fee and to increase the amount of money you receive aswell.

MISCONCEPTION #5:  I’ll have to go to court to get whatmy case is worth.   False. Most injury cases are settled before the case goes to court.  Often, when the insurance company realizesyou and your lawyer are ready and willing to go to court, the insurance companystarts making reasonable offers for your injury claim.  If we don’t like the first offer, we make acounteroffer.  Negotiations may continueuntil both sides agree on a certain amount. In most cases, injury claims don’t require a court trial, but in some cases,they do require having a jury trial, in order to get full compensation. I have36 years’ experience as a trial lawyer and have the trial skills to handle yourcase before a jury.

MISCONCEPTION #6:  I have to accept what my lawyertells me.   False. Anytime you feel confused or don’t under­stand what’s going on, you’reentitled to and should get a second opinion. In the field of medicine, if your doctor suggests major surgery, youknow it’s wise to get a second opinion. Likewise, anytime you speak with one lawyer, you’re perfectly free toconfirm his advice by seeking a second opinion from another lawyer.  I will be happy to review your case andprovide a second opinion.

MISCONCEPTION #7:  Once I settle my claim, I can getmore money in the future if I have additional medical bills.   False. Once your claim is settled, it is over – forever!  You’ll get no more money for bodily injury,pain or suffering, medical bills no matter what.   MISCONCEPTION#8:  If I am partly at fault for causingthe accident, I am not entitled to any money.   False. Even if you are partly to blame for the accident, you may still beentitled to recover money.  This is knownas comparative negligence.  For example,even if you are 25% at fault, you can recover 75% from the defendant who alsocaused your injuries.

MISCONCEPTION #9:  I have only one year to file a lawsuit.   False. This can be a difficult question to answer.  In Texas, in most personal injuries cases,you have two years to file a lawsuit from the time of the injury date toprotect your rights.  However, in someinstances, you may have only one year. If your claim is against a governmental entity (such as a city, county,or state or their employees), you are required to give notice of your claimwithin a specified time period.   Itis important that you know your rights. Otherwise, you may lose your right to bring a claim for your injuriesand damages.  Ask me, and I’ll help youdetermine the proper time frames,so you don’t forfeit your rights.